Every time I hear a pundit, commentator, or political analyst describe Sarah Palin as someone who can still grow up to be a viable political force my head just spins. Are the 40s the new adolescence? How many teens have I heard say, “I’m just being myself,” “keeping it real” to shrug off the (hopefully) inevitable requirement to grow up? Okay, professionals in science are working towards the theory that adolescence brain development is a work in progress.
But when you’re 45, the work should be pretty much hot wired. I’m sure, it’s flattering on a vanity level to be called the “young President” at 47 or 48 compared to the 50 and 60 somethings that preceded you. But nevertheless, 48 is grown. At one time it was even called “middle aged.”
Last night while waiting for “The Good Wife” on CBS, I happened to catch a documentary on Elizabeth II (“The Windsors: A Royal Dynasty”) on PBS. In the footage of the 1952 coronation, I noticed the poise and adult grace and dare I say maturity of the 25-year-old princess Elizabeth. I couldn’t imagine such a thing happening to me at 25. And I’m certain there were no detailed instructions left by her father George VI, who died somewhat suddenly. Does a sense of duty and a willingness to assume responsibility crown you as an adult? Does it depend on the age of the country in which you were born? Compared to the UK, the US is just taking off the training wheels.
I mean you can’t even say “Adult Entertainment” without referring to very primal amusements. I think of a night of Cole Porter, Miles Davis or a 4-course dinner party with cocktails. I get the feeling “Mad Men” is so popular because there’s a hunger for “adult entertainment” in a rather youthful culture.
If you must indulge, a good compilation of Sarah Palin book tour media mania is available on The Daily Beast.
Adulthood isn’t for the faint of heart or head. If a biological clock can run out of time, when does a political one?